Friday Morning Ramblings - Gangster Edition

• I saw “American Gangster” last weekend, and I have to say, it’s probably the best movie I’ve seen this year. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are two of the best actors in the business, and getting them to play the lead roles in a great story like this was just incredible. Plus, even though the movie is almost three hours long, it never feels like its dragging. I highly recommend seeing it. If you’re not a theater person, fine, but I’m not sure I’d recommend waiting until it comes out on DVD. It’s that good.

• Two more quick points on the movie: very damn good, but still not my favorite Denzel movie, and still not my favorite gangster movie. The first is “He Got Game” and the second is “Scarface”, which is one of my 10 favorite movies of all-time (that’s 3 I’ve listed if you’re keeping track -- and I know you are).

• Not specifically about “American Gangster”, but a general point on Denzel: he’s freakin’ awesome when playing a real person. Check out some of these roles in reverse chronological order: Dr. Jerome Davenport in “Antwone Fisher”, Herman Boone in “Remember the Titans”, Rubin Carter in “The Hurricane” and the ultimate one, Malcolm X in “Malcolm X”. I know he won his Oscar for “Training Day” but he’s at his best playing a historical character.

• Jay-Z’s new album dropped on Tuesday (for those counting, that’s 2 new studio albums since he “retired” after “The Black Album”) and it’s inspired by “American Gangster” (it also shares the name). I really like the album. I don’t think it’s his best, but I do think it’s the most socially relevant. The lyrics are on point, and the beats are pretty damn good too. Personally, I think “The Black Album” is Jay-Z’s best album, but if you want your opinion heard, then vote in the poll to the left (or on the main blog page).

• I know the Warriors are 0-5, but Baron Davis is turning into the NBA’s biggest on-court gangster. As in, he’s a fuckin’ bad ass. He picked up his 5th foul with 10 minutes left in the game, but stayed in the game and played the rest of the way, almost carrying the Warriors to another win over the Mavericks. He finished with 37 points, and is averaging 24.8 PPG this season. Plus, he had a serious throwdown on a follow dunk Thursday, though it wasn’t as good as this one.